Last updated on January 20th, 2020 at 10:01 pm
It’s pizza time! And it’s about time. I haven’t posted a pizza recipe since my Easy Za’atar Spiced Pizzas back in 2016. This pizza, however, was worth the wait. A vegan white pizza with sweet pears, creamy almond ricotta and flavoursome balsamic shallots. OK, let’s do it.
We make our own pizza at least once a week and my daughter LOVES it. Pizza gets a bad wrap as junk food but not the way we make it. Being a sneaky Mama-type I never miss an opportunity to stash vegetables in to the mix. My small person usually requests a Margherita-style pie which I am happy to make with grated cauliflower, broccoli and finely chopped spinach in the sauce. I won’t tell if you don’t.
While my daughter is loyal to the Margherita, this vegan white pizza is my favourite. It’s creamy and salty and sweet all at the same time. Oh, boy, let’s cook already!
WHAT IS A WHITE PIZZA?
Simply, a white pizza, pizza bianco, is one that doesn’t have tomato sauce on it. White pizza is typically covered in ricotta and mozzarella in lieu of tomato sauce and may also be topped with garlic, vegetables or Alfredo sauce.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A VEGAN WHITE PIZZA?
Easily. First you take a simple pizza base – I’ve included my favourite recipe (based on an old Jamie Oliver recipe) made with semolina below but to save time you could just buy one. I will say though, making your own pizza dough is simple and cheaper and you can freeze any left over dough for next time. The recipe below makes 3 larger pizzas or four skillet-sized ones.
Next, you quickly whip up an almond vegan ricotta in the blender and use that instead of tomato sauce.
Then you add your favourite toppings – think artichoke hearts, lemon zest and zucchini or, like here, finely sliced pears and sweet onions. Finally, top it with your favourite vegan mozzarella cheese. I use two cheeses on my pizza because I love the way The Wise Bunny mozzarella tastes and I love the meltiness of Follow Your Heart mozzarella.
It’s that simple. So let’s make this thing!
A few years ago I posted a Wholemeal Pissaladiére recipe with caramelised onion and I tell you…caramelised onion is all things wonderful on a pizza. Today we are whipping up balsamic shallots and they are so easy to do but also just that little bit fancy. Simply add a little oil (or vegan butter) to a skillet, add some small shallots, some water and a little salt and cook down until the shallots begin to caramelise around the edges. Add a tablespoon of balsamic (red wine vinegar works too) and cook for a few more minutes. So easy.
The rest is pretty darn simple. Roll out your pizza dough, add a good dollop of your almond ricotta…
Lay the sliced pears…
…add the balsamic shallots. Top with cheese and pop in to a stinking hot oven. And…
…voila. The tastiest, simplest, a lit bit fanciest vegan white pizza you’ll ever try. I add fresh rocket, a smattering of chopped pistachios and a swirl of balsamic reduction or pomegranate molasses to mine but you absolutely don’t have to. Is it awesome? Heck, yes! Compulsory? Not even a little.
Make it your own and enjoy. x
Vegan White Pizza with Pear and Balsamic Onions
- 350 ml water lukewarm
- 7 grams active yeast
- 1 tsp raw sugar
- 400 grams 00 flour strong flour
- 100 grams semolina flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup water +3-4 tbsp
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 and 1/2 cups blanched almonds
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1-2 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- pinch garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil or vegan buttery spread
- 200 grams small shallots some halved, smaller ones left whole
- pinch fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 1 pear finely sliced lengthways (see notes)
- 1/2 cup mozarella (vegan), grated
- 2 tbsp pistachios (optional) crushed
- 1/3 cup arugula (roquette)
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional) but so good!
- course sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- To make the pizza dough stir the water, yeast and sugar together in a bowl or jug and set in a warm space to bloom.
- Combine the flour, semolina and salt in a large mixing bowl, stirring it together to mix well.
- When the yeast is frothy/milk add the olive oil and stir it through and then add the mixture to the flour. Combine the dough together with a spoon until it begins to come together and then tip it out on to a work surface to knead. Don't worry if you have loose floury bits; they will come together when you need the dough.
- Knead by hand for around 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and soft. If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook, knead the dough for around 5 minutes.
- Form the dough in to a ball and place it in a large clean bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Cover it with a clean towel or cling film and sit it in a warm corner to proof for about an hour or until it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, to make the almond ricotta place all the ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Begin with 1/2 cup of water and add more by the tablespoon as needed to create a smooth cream texture. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- For the caramelised onions, heat the oil in a skillet over low - medium heat before adding the onions, water and salt. Cook for around 7-10 minutes or until the onions are beginning to caramelise around the edges. Remember, they will go in the oven with the pizza so they'll cook thoroughly in there.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vinegar is absorbed. Remove the onions from the heat and set aside.
- Pre-heat your oven to at least 250 C (482 degrees F) (pizza loves heat!) and line a roasting tray with baking paper sprinkled liberally with semolina.
- When the dough has doubled in size, divide it in to 3 or 4 balls and allow each to rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Roll or press a dough ball on to the roasting tray in to a traditional circle or longer shape like mine. I found a cool video showing two different dough stretching techniques from King Arthur Flour here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcEIRm9nczk
- Spread a good amount of your almond ricotta on the base followed by the sliced pear. Sprinkle the balsamic shallots over the top followed by the mozzarella cheese. Pop the pizza in the oven for 7 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and delicious.
- To serve, scatter the pizza with fresh arugula (roquette), chopped pistachios and a swirl of olive oil and pomegranate molasses (completely optional). Sprinkle with a little more sea salt and a crack of pepper. Devour!